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Anaemic rise sees FTSE at highest Friday close for weeks

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Shares rose slightly in London on Friday (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
Shares rose slightly in London on Friday (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Shares in London’s top index ended the week with a day of little change, but still managed to hit its highest Friday close for six weeks.

The FTSE 100 ended at 7,276.37, up 5.86 points, or 0.1%.

Next week many companies will have to stand on their results as a massive pile of reports head to investors’ inboxes.

Among those issuing updates next week are airlines easyJet and Wizz Air, banks Lloyds and Barclays, with British American Tobacco, Shell, Vodafone and GSK also on the list.

“Investors will be pleased to see that the rally in stocks remains intact, having lasted longer than some of the other rebounds we have seen so far this year,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“But they will be wary of pushing their luck too hard into next week, given the avalanche of earnings heading their way, plus a Fed decision and the first reading on US second quarter GDP that might easily provide fresh recession worries.”

Investors will be pleased to see that the rally in stocks remains intact

Chris Beauchamp, IG

Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets, said that markets seemed unconcerned by new economic surveys released on Friday.

“European markets appear to be shrugging off concerns over an economic slowdown after the latest flash PMIs showed that economic activity in France and Germany slowed markedly, indicating that the area was at risk of sliding into recessionary territory,” he said.

“This week’s stock market gains appear to be being driven by a calculation that the deteriorating economic outlook may give central bankers pause when it comes to raising rates as aggressively as originally priced.

“The weakness in commodity prices is certainly helping investors draw this conclusion, however it still seems a remarkably premature conclusion, even as German 10-year yields hit their lowest levels since May.”

By the end of the day, Germany’s Dax had added 0.1%, while the Cac 40 in Paris rose 0.3%.

The Dow Jones was down 0.2% when markets closed in Europe while its Wall street neighbour the S&P was down 0.6%.

In company news, it seemed that investors had already priced in another year of record profits that JD Sports told the market to expect.

The chain said that sales still grew last month despite pressures on household wallets.

Like-for-like sales rose 5% in the five months to June while 2022 pre-tax profits will be “in line” with last year’s record high.

Shares dipped 0.3%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 38.4p to 791.6p, Flutter Entertainment, up 252p to 8,276p, Unite Group, up 35p to 1,207p, Antofagasta, up 29p to 1,076p, and Howden Joinery, up 18p to 673.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Mondi, down 81p to 1,416.5p, DS Smith, down 14.7p to 270p, Smurfit Kappa Group, down 117p to 2,739p, Intermediate Capital Group, down 47p to 1425.5p, and Standard Chartered, down 14p to 572.8p.

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